I use tea tree oil all the time in my home. It is great for just about everything. The smell is a little strong, but diluted you get used to it quickly. So I thought you all would be interested in finding out just how versatile tea tree oil is. Here are 20 different uses for home and health:
1. Use a dab to treat acne.
2. An anti-fungal for treating Athlete’s Foot, eczema, various yeast infections, etc.
3. An antiseptic to be used on cuts and burns.
4. An anti-viral: it may lessen the symptoms of colds and flu. Try using a few drops in the bath.
5. Add to a vaporizer to loosen chest congestion.
6. Add a small amount to shampoo to destroy head lice.
7. A small amount added to your bath can help with persistent body odor.
8. Treating sinus infection.
9. For dandruff and dry scalp.
10. In the form of aromatherapy, tea tree oil is used to treat colds, persistent coughs, acne, toothaches, and sunburn.
11. To create an all-purpose cleaner, combine 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil in 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
12. Another version would be 14 ounces of water with 1 ounce of Murphy’s oil soap and 10 drops of tea tree oil.
13. Mix the above solution with kosher salt to scrub bathtub and bathroom tiles.
14. Add a few drops to dishwasher dispenser, then fill with a green dishwashing soap.
15. A few drops added to each load of laundry leave your clothes smelling cleaner.
16. Control mold with a tea tree oil/water spray.
17. Remove mustiness with that same tea tree oil/water spray.
18. To keep germs at bay, spray it on high chairs, car seats, and other high traffic spots.
19. 15 drops in a quart of water can be an effective insect repellent.
20. Be sure to take some with you when hiking and camping to put directly on insect bites or blisters.
Whisper Wind Country Store
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I use tea tree oil all the time in my home. It is great for just about everything. The smell is a little strong, but diluted you get used to it quickly. So I thought you all would be interested in finding out just how versatile tea tree oil is. Here are 20 different uses for home and health:
Friday, January 22, 2010
It seems that most of American agriculture has become so specialized that we can no longer grow enough food in our country to feed our country. Increasingly, there are more and more food imported from other countries. There are several reasons that this concerns me. One is that they don't have the same pesticide and herbicide controls that we do. Two, many times the food in grown in contaminated soil. And three, many times the food is fertilized with raw human manure/sewage. These are all big no nos to me and one thing I have noticed is that I am seeing labels on food in our stores saying "product of China". Does absolutely everything have to come from China these days? It is ridiculous that this once great agricultural nation now has to import foods that are laced with heavy metals and all sorts of toxins. It is ridiculous that we can no longer feed ourselves. I think my grocery store days are coming to an end for the most part. There are only a few things that I simply cannot buy locally or produce myself. Sugar is one, cocoa another (must have chocolate). A country that cannot feed its people from its own soil is doomed to one day starve or be slaves. We have been so blessed with so many varied climates in our own country and yet.....we import food. It is a sad state that this country is in. Check your labels ladies and buy local or grow your own to be on the safe side. God bless and happy growing.
I have been making my own bread for several years now. I started with a bread machine and simply didn't like it. I didn't like the recipes and I didn't like the shape of the loaf. So, I started doing it the traditional way. Most of the time my bread turns out good, some of the time my bread turns out.....not so good. My bread tastes wonderful, but I sure would like to have some pretty loaves of bread to sit out for supper. Mine are not so pretty all of the time. I simply cannot get my bread to be consistant. So, Farmgirl Fare has gorgeous artisan breadbaking skills. She has been kind enough to post her very best tips to baking beautiful breads on her blog...Farmgirl Fare. She also has many many recipes on there and so this year, I think I will work really hard to follow her advice and have a better bread baking year. Maybe I can get it right this time, although the chickens certainly don't mind the failures. God bless.
As the wife of a former Airborne scout, it is important to me and my husband that we do what we can to support our military. It doesn't matter whether you agree with the war or not. It doesn't matter if you agree with what the government decides or not. What matters is that there are men and women sent to do a job that even they might not agree with, but it is a job that none of us want to do. They are far away from home and many of them receive no contact from home. They feel alone and forgotten. Several years ago, my daughter and I started sending letters. Now, we send letters and care packages. These little things mean a lot. Our military men and women take an oath to the Constitution. They do their job to protect us, the people. I know many people are seeing the increasing tyranny and corruption in our government. One day our military men and women might be called to protect us from our own government. If we don't support them, why would they do that. If people don't care about them, why would they care about us. It is a lot to ask of someone to lay their life on the line so that we don't have to. So, we do a few small things to let them know that we care. If anyone is interested in doing something similar then here are a couple places to help get mail or packages to soldiers who simply don't get anything from back here at home. Many of these folks are kids. My husband was just a young whippersnapper when he was sitting in the desert. He said that the care packages from his mom were looked forward to by everybody and there were those that didn't get any. He said his mom sent a large package every week so that all the guys could get something. Even a letter means more than we will ever know. So if you are so inclined check out
Adopt a Platoon
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Many of you know of our journey to reduce out energy needs. We are constantly looking at things and re-evaluating. One thing that I wrote a series of blog posts about was living life without refrigeration. Refrigeration is a huge part of a home's energy consumption. Freezers are cheaper to run than refrigerators. So, I thought I would update on what we have done, what we did and how everything has worked out. We did try going without the refrigerator for many months to get a good feel for it throughout the different seasons. During the late winter and early spring it actually wasn't too bad. We never had food spoil and we learned to cook just what we needed for the meal with very little to no leftovers. So that was a good thing because in the long run it saves us money. Milk during that time could be kept cool by leaving it in glass jars on the screened in porch and using it pretty quickly. It stayed cold out there. Veggies kept just fine and were used pretty quickly. There was no longer any of the buy the cabbage and use it two weeks later. We used frozen or canned veggies in between market trips or garden harvest. The problem comes with the heat and humidity of our hot deep south summers. I simply cannot drink warm milk. I like my water ice cold when the temps outside are pushing 100. Unless, I bought a bag of ice every couple of days to keep in a cooler then there was simply no way to chill anything. Greens go limp within hours of being picked in that heat. The bugs are bad. It simply was not a pleasant experience once summer set in. So, what did we do? Go back to our monster energy consuming refrigerator? Nope, we downsized. I had a large dorm sized refrigerator in my studio that I had used at my art gallery. It had been sitting there waiting for some special moment when it would be needed again. It is just the right size (so far). We can keep a few ice cube trays in the "freezer" portion and it has enough room for our milk and dairy products. The challenge will be when we butcher the goat this weekend and need to let the meat age. I think we can get it in there. At least, what will be ground can go straight into the big freezer. So basically we have combined both living without refrigeration for most things, but we have the little refrigerator for those things that simply are better being cold. We also, feel much safer this way in the summer. We have seen a good bit of reduction with the little refrigerator as it doesn't have as much space to keep cool and uses less energy. I think this is definitely the way to go for at least right now. At least, I know that if I ever had to live without refrigeration that I could even though some things wouldn't be pleasant some of the time.
I know that title really has you wondering! Yesterday, the girls and I were in town early when all of a sudden my little one yells from the back seat...."Mommy, I have to go poopoo!" Oh no! When a recently potty trained toddler says they need a bathroom you had better find one fast! The situation is urgent! I am really funny about using public restrooms. When I am in town if the girls have to go potty we go to a friend or relatives house or my friend owns a boutique and we will go there. However, it was too early for her shop to be open and my friends and relatives were all at work. As the plees for relief got more and more demanding from the backseat I swung into a McDonald's and we dashed inside. Now, I have never been one to use a business's restroom and not purchase something. Their restrooms are for their customers and not for every joe blo to walk in off the street and use. So, once the emergency was averted, I ordered 3 hashbrowns and a small coke. We got back in the car and I bit into my hasbrown....and received an awful aftertaste. Something like a chemical taste. I at first thought it was just me. Then both of the girls said something. The toddler in the backseat pronounced it yucky, while the oldest in the front seat said it tasted really funny. I don't know what kind of oil they used but I would imagine old motor oil couldn't have tasted worse(and no I have not actually tasted old motor oil). Maybe it is just that we don't eat fast food much...I don't know, but I don't think I will be returning to McDonald's anytime soon. What is in that grease?!
I suffered with a dilemma for quite a few years in trying to clean my glass around the house without using paper towels. So many cloth items left little fuzzies behind on the glass and it just looked....yucky. I finally discovered the answer once my daughter was out of cloth diapers and into big girl pants. I was taking the pre-fold cloth diapers to the laundry room to put in the rag bag when I noticed that there really is very little lint or nap to the diaper. So, I grabbed by spray bottle of vinegar and tested the glass door on the china cabinet. As I wiped the door with the diaper, guess what.....no lint left behind! So, I use my old cloth diapers to clean the windows and all the glass around the house and they look as good as they did when I used paper towels. Just another way to keep the pennies in the bank and use what you have. Have a great day!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I haven't talked about cloth for awhile now, so I thought I would do just that. I made the switch to cloth everywhere in my home a long time ago. My reasoning was to be cheap....uh, frugal. So, the kitchen can be terribly expensive if paper towels are used, then paper coffee filters, etc. So, I made my own coffee filters out of cheese cloth. They work wonderfully and are washable. I simply cut two triangles from cheese cloth that was say 3 layers, then sewed up the sides and sewed along the edge to prevent fraying. Within 30 minutes time I had numerous coffee filters that could be re-used over and over. It is much healthier than running my coffee through paper that has been chemically processed. Next, I bought some muslin and flannel when they were on sale. I am always picking up fabric when it is on sale as I don't like to pay full price for anything. I cut about 15 good sized squares (12"x12") of the muslin and the flannel. I then sewed a zig zag stitch around the edge in a bold color (I chose green). The color tells whoever folds the laundry that those are kitchen towels and not to be used elsewhere. Now I have two types of towels to use in the kitchen for cleaning up spills, cleaning counters, or appliances. They work wonderfully and are so inexpensive to make. They eliminate that expense at the grocery store of buying paper also. Such a cheap cleaning solution, I love it. God bless.
I accomplished quite a bit of sewing this past week and surprised myself at how cheaply I accomplished this task. Let me explain a little about that. Normally, I would have to use fabric to accomplish my sewing goals that had been purchased at the fabric store or elsewhere. This time I created almost an entire spring and summer wardrobe for my toddler and didn't use my store bought fabric unless you include the scraps that I used out of the scrap bag. As you know I have been going through my oldest childs clothes for the consignment sale next month. She had several really nice shirts that were almost like brand new. One or two had a small stain and so couldn't go through the consignment sale and a few others had some imperfections that would not be accepted. So, I got to thinking how easy it would be to turn those shirts into cute little dresses for a toddler. That is exactly what I did. I will post some photos soon, if I can get my camera to work. I will try to explain some of what I did. On one shirt that had cap sleeves, it made ties for the "dress" out of some scrap material. I then attached the ties to the bottom of the armhole and tied them in the back. This made the armhole smaller to fit a toddler and added a cute element to the "dress". It also had a small stain which I easily covered with rosettes made from the same scrap material and some decorative buttons. Then I did some embroidery around the collar, just a simple blanket stitch and rosebud in the corner. One dress, nothing spent.....totally cool. Another shirt turned dress was a tank top. So, I shortened the straps which made the armhole and neckhole smaller to fit. Where the front and back panels were now joined at the neck I tied a ribbon in a bow that lays across the shoulder on both sides. Since that shirt was multicolored, I chose to leave the adornment simple and just stuck with the ribbons at the shoulder. It is a cute little summer dress and I actually had two of them in different colors that I did that way. I had a polo type shirt that I gathered the sleeves with elastic, which closed up the armhole. The neckhole was just fine since it had buttons. The I looked through my scrap bag and made several ruffles for the bottom of the dress out of scrap fabric in a couple different prints to give it some pizazz and interest. I then lined the joining stitch between the ruffles and shirt with a ribbon trim and a flat buckle type bow. Another dress done and nothing really spent. I also made some more pantaloons out of some linen curtains that had once hung in my art gallery. When I closed the gallery, I simply washed the curtains and put them aside for later use. I have been using them to make pantaloons and bloomers for quite some time. The linen is wonderful and they wear well. I make them a little big so that they last longer and I can simply put in longer elastic to get a little more time out of them. So, I think all in all my toddlers new wardrobe cost a couple dollars in ribbon and notions that I already had on hand. She now has a cute boutique style wardrobe for the upcoming warm seasons and I certainly did not spend 40 to 60 dollars on each dress. With a little creativity and imagination so much money can be saved in clothing your children. Like I said I will try to get pictures of the dresses up this week. My camera is old, worn out and temperamental so we will see if it decides to work. Happy sewing.
I have always loved to read and really would read pretty much anything to keep from being bored. In fact when I was just a young squirt spending time at my grandfather's farm the only thing to read the the Market Bulletin from the Department of Agriculture and Progressive Farmer. I read both, cover to cover...issue after issue. So with all of this reading that I have done during my lifetime, I certainly do have some favorite authors. Two of these authors have an uncanny knack for telling a whole lot of truth in a work of fiction. First I will tell you who the authors are, Robin Cook and Michael Crighton. Robin Cook is a physician and writes a lot of "fiction" books set in the medical field. Many times the story line of the book is about some new research or drug or procedure. I remember one book of his, I read years ago just when antidepressants were starting to hit popularity. In the book, these researchers developed an antidepressant but couldn't get funding to test it. So they tested it on themselves. At first they felt wonderful, then they started to notice they were changing both physically and behaviorally. However, the drug was addictive and they couldn't stop taking it because it made them feel so good. I won't go through the whole book and each and every thing that happened but in the end the drug changed those that wouldn't stop taking it into reptiles, devoid of emotion and human feeling. Years after reading that book, I had talked to some women who had stopped taking their antidepressants on their own because they stopped feeling emotion. They stopped laughing, crying, getting angry, etc. So was Robin Cook trying to get some truth out using a work of fiction....I think so. Sometimes the only way to get people to see and here the truth is to put it into a work of fiction. Then they might start thinking. I recently read one of Michael Crighton's last books...State of Fear. Awesome book and so well researched. One of the best research jobs I have ever seen in a work of fiction. However, getting back to the book. The book is an expose' on the global warming turned climate change scam. It is mainly centered around an an evironmental group and a multibillionaire, but the parallels to what our government is feeding us currently is not an accident. Maybe Crighton wanted a few more people to wake up to the fleecing we are getting through this charade and the potential fleecing down the road before it is too late. I highly recommend this book. While it is a work of fiction there are tons of footnotes, citing sources that the characters refer to in the book. Crighton clearly did his homework. Sometimes I guess the only way to tell the truth so that people will listen is to present it as a work of fiction. Sad isn't it? What does that say about humanity and our incessant need to be entertained instead of informed? I like authors that get me to think and challenge myself. If I hadn't already seen the scam behind "global warming" I certainly would be taking a hard look at that theory after reading the book. So just a few observations about books, authors, and truth hidden in fiction. God bless.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Well, I am back from our technology free week. It was great. It amazed me at how much more we were able to get done around here and how much more time we had to play together. The girls spend the afternoons laughing, giggling and playing with each other instead of like zombies in front of the television. My oldest, who says she hates to read and it is always like pulling teeth to get her to read finally found a book in our personal library and from then on each evening had her nose stuck in a book. I got a lot of sewing done and almost have a complete spring and summer wardrobe for the little one. Just a couple more play dresses for around the farm and finish church dresses and I will be done with her clothes and can start on clothes for the oldest. Who knows this year I might be able to get something made for myself. I would love a couple more skirts and tops or a dress or two. Some of my work stuff is getting pretty frazzled and worn. We have a good start on the stuff for next months consignment sale and will probably finish that up soon. I did not get to my crafting supplies, but will soon. I finished a book that I had been reading little by little for about 6 months. This week was my littlest's birthday, she turned 3. She received several books and a set of cards (of her very own) and was thrilled. I made her a cake, but my mom decided she needed a "store bought" cake with all the decorations. So we have two cakes here and nobody wants the store bought cake. I am sorry, but it tastes like...well like..plastic. Once you start baking your own and have eaten home baked from scratch for so long those store bought birthday cakes just don't taste so good. Of course, we won't tell mom all of that. It would hurt her feelings. So I don't know what to do with that cake. Anyway, next weekend will be busy as we have rabbits to butcher and a goat to butcher. I am getting ready for no buy February in that I have made a small list of things that I am low on that will need to be replaced before the end of the month. We are also getting close to spring kidding season so I think I will get some milk in the freezer for the couple months when the goats are dry. I sure will miss my rich sweet goat milk, but organic cow milk isn't too bad. Regular grocery store milk simply is not an option as it tastes foul and looks foul too. I certainly do not need vegetable oil in my milk. I got my seeds ordered and will be starting seeds soon for our spring vegetables. We will get the garden tilled in the next couple of weeks and put out the compost that has been cooking since last summer. It is wonderfully cooked and looks lovely. As far as no technology week, we will keep doing that each month until we can get rid of the tv altogether. Hopefully, by the end of summer! At least that is my goal. Well, it is time to go tend to the critters and get the morning milking done, so I will have to write more later. I have several blog ideas so maybe I can get some of those done this week. God bless.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Today starts the day of our no technology week, so I will be MIA for the week. Please feel free to read some of the past blog posts and enjoy some of the blogs of my friends. You will find the links to their blogs in the right hand column under "Blogs I follow". Enjoy and have a great week. I will see you all next Monday with loads of blog posts, I hope. God bless and take care!
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Since spring comes fairly early here in the south and I will be starting spring seedlings soon (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.)we typically have one month during the last of winter in which we do not purchase anything except for gas for the cars. This year it will be February. We will eat completely out of what we put up last summer and fall so that we have room for new produce that will be coming soon. This is a really good way that I have found to keep stocks rotated out and to make sure that nothing is "lost" in the vast depths of the freezer. I remember at times that my grandmother would find the peas that had gotten lost and forgotten and I have done the same myself. It is no fun to find food that you worked hard to grow and put up that has gone to waste. Of course, the chickens are very happy to clean up that waaayyy out of date food for you. However, wouldn't you have liked to enjoy some of it yourself. So in February the only thing that will be purchased will be gas for the cars. Anything eaten will be out of the freezer and pantry to make room for the new season. I challenge you all to at least get to the point where you could have a no buy month as well. No, it doesn't really save you money and that is not the point. The point is to have a good time to make sure that stock is rotated out and to see how well prepared you truly are. We always tend to think that our preps are in good shape for whatever the world might throw at us. It is in testing ourselves that we find that we have a few holes. So in February I will be able to find where those holes are at and hopefully get them plugged up. God bless you all, Kat
I have noticed several commercials lately that talk about reasons people overeat. Things like eating because you feel down or because you feel lonely. Then they say don't worry about gaining weight because of this, just take this little pill and the fat will melt away. Well, something is wrong with this picture. If people are eating for mental reasons rather than physical reasons (ie, they are hungry and need the food) then they need more help than just a pill to make the fat go away. That won't solve the problem. Instead of encouraging people to get help for the issues that are causing them to turn to food as a mental and emotional stimulant, they are simply treating the end result which will never go away if the initial problem is not helped. I know we have all turned to food at some point to deal with emotional stress. I myself once ate an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's peanut butter and chocolate ice cream in college when a boyfriend broke up with me. A pint may not seem like much but that is some really really rich ice cream and a pint is certainly a whole lot. My point in all of this is that if a person eats because of emotional/mental stress or anxiety then that is what needs to be treated rather than the end result of gaining weight. However, these commercials make it seem like it is ok to overeat when you are stressed or anxious, just take a pill so you don't get fat. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture? If you eat to combat emotional or mental problems, then find out a way to fix the problem. Get help if you need it. Taking a pill to get rid of the fat will not solve the problem that started you on that road to begin with. Have a happy healthy year and God bless.
*Disclaimer- once again I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist. Please see your doctor if you are having issues. Thanks
Oh I have have been reading so many people talking about that age old new year's resolution to go on a diet and lose weight. Commercials on television are overflowing with all sorts of gimmicks. So I thought I would post my thoughts on weight issues. First, some of us are genetically prone to be chubby. I am not talking about obese, I am simply talking about on the high side, or slightly over what the medical community likes to call normal. In a world that shows superthin underfed folks as beautiful this can be tough on others who don't fall into that category. So every year thousands upon thousands of women go on "diets" and vow to lose weight. Many of them are successful at least for a little while. My view is that one should vow to live a healthier lifestyle instead of looking for a quick fix. Diets are unhealthy, I don't care which new low-carb, low-fat, low whatever you proscribe to. They simply are unhealthy because they are taking away something that your body might need to function. I will give you an example. My sister was on a certain diet that was low carb for a long time. She started experiencing bad daily headaches many turning into migraines and she stopped losing weight. She went to doctor after doctor that simply gave her a new pill to try to get rid of the headaches. I told her to get off that diet and start eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, which had been eliminated because of this low-carb stuff. Her body was out of balance and it was trying to tell her something. She finally listened to me after all the guinea pig pill remedies were exhausted and the doctors had no answers. She ate a banana and the next day she didn't have a headache. As she added back all the foods that she had eliminated she began to feel better and have more energy, the headaches all but disappeared. She was killing herself trying to lose weight and wasn't even accomplishing that very well. She and I both are prone to be on the chubby side. My daddy was chubby, my grandaddy was chubby, and so forth and so on back through the generations. I gained a lot more weight with my last pregnancy simply because I was confined to bed rest due to hypertension issues. The older I get the harder it is to get the weight off. One thing I remember though is that my grandfather was healthy. He worked hard physically, he ate what he wanted to eat, and he lived to be 90 years old. If he hadn't developed Alzheimer's and started having mini strokes (common with Alzheimer's) then he probably would have lived longer, but it was his time and the Lord called him home. One thing he always said was that everything was a balance, don't eat just one thing and don't eliminate things necessary. In other words live healthy by getting some physical exercise and eat a balanced diet. You need fat, you need carbohydrates and you definitely need all the vitamins and minerals contained in those foods. A couple of years ago I started really watching what my family consumed. I started eliminating processed foods and store bought junk foods. I lost a little weight that first year but not much. This past year, I got a whole lot more exercise with the large garden and the added livestock care. I eliminated more things from our diet, especially artificial sweeteners. I went back to whole foods. We use all natural ingredients now. Things like raw sugar, honey, whole wheat. We added more nutrient dense foods to our diet like carrots, beets, and other roots vegetables. Guess what, I haven't watched anything that I have eaten I have simply eaten good whole food and eliminated as much processed, pre-sweetened, "plastic" foods from our diet. We drink whole raw milk from our goat and eat full fat butter on our potatoes and toast. This year I lost 35 pounds and simply did not try. I still have some weight to lose and I am sure that it will come off this year until my body reaches a balance which is healthy for me. I don't try to fit into a mold, I want to be healthy for me. I have found that when you eat more nutrient dense foods in a well balanced regimine then you don't have those cravings for something and you don't overeat because the food that you have eaten keeps you full. When your body has what it needs then you don't feel the need to eat more. Now everything I have talked about doesn't even address the mental issues of people who over eat. These are simply physical issues being observed. So my thoughts are that if you want to lose weight take a good hard look at what you eat. Are you eating more processed food or whole food? Is your diet well balanced and nutrient rich? Do you get any exercise? You cannot lose weight in a healthy manner without burning more calories. I have a few more posts on this issue that deal with different aspects. So keep an eye out for those. God bless and take care.
*Disclaimer- I am not a doctor nor am I a nutritionist, these are simply my thoughts on the weight loss issue and not to be taken as medical advice. Talk to your physician or a nutritionist about your particular situation. Thanks.
Friday, January 8, 2010
I don't make New Year's Resolutions simply because they are rarely kept for very long term. One thing that I do, however is to take a long look at my goals where we are at in accomplishing those long term goals and what I would like to accomplish for the next year. The difference between goals and resolutions is simple. A resolution is set in stone in your mind and so when life throws a brick at you and knocks you off course, you lose your map and can't ever find your way back to the path toward the resolution. A resolution is something that must always stay within sight right in front of you or is lost. A goal is something that you can see at some point on the map. And you see that there are many paths to that goal. So when life throws a brick at you and knocks you onto a different path you simply take a different route toward the goal on your map. A goal is a point in the future that you will someday get to even if you can't immediately see it physically. So, all that being said I have sat down with my journal from the past year and this and thought about our and my goals and what I would like to see accomplished this year. So here they are:
Grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ, work to come closer to Him and what He wants for me.
Have more patience with my husband
Plant a new orchard
increase the size of the garden, grow some new varieties of tomatoes, and more sunflowers
Spend more time sewing
At least build the outdoor oven, would like to have the whole summer kitchen but....
Raise ducks and turkeys for the freezer
Incubate more eggs to increase the size of the flock
Keep only one spring doeling! Butcher all bucklings and sell extra doelings
Get one to two inches of compost spread in the goat pasture, garden, and orchard pasture
Increase the compost piles (both size and number)
Get firewood cut and stacked earlier in the year
Make time for target practice
spend more time with the horses
have more family game nights
rebuild the solar shower (outdoor summer shower)
plant a berry patch
thin out the pine thicket
get rid of excess clutter
My goals are relatively simple this year and some things like the orchard and berry patch probably won't be complete, but a start would be great. Things that are homesteading goals I really don't mind doing in small chunks and simply taking my time to get them complete. This year I would at least like to add a couple of apple trees to the orchard pasture and get some blackberry bushes for the berry patch. Of course, in the long run I would like more than that but starting is good on a homestead and when you are working within a budget sometimes you must take it slow to get toward the eventual goal. The pine thicket has been a goal of our for a few years now, but the underbrush has made this goal almost impossible. However, thanks to the addition of our small goat herd this year they have happily taken care of much of the underbrush and we can now see areas that we can start to get in and thin the trees. Pine trees grow like weeds around here and this stand has taken up a large portion of one of the pastures. It also starts to present a fire hazard after so much time. Since it runs along the outside fence line I would like to keep it there and keep the larger healthier trees. However, I don't want a pine beetle infestation and don't want a fire and don't want to lose my large pasture so it needs to be thinned and if we at least start that will be a good accomplishment. My personal goals really are things that I work on continuously, but it is good to really sit down and think about just those goals sometimes. It keeps them clear and to the front of my mind when things get so busy around here. Once I have thought long and hard about where we are and where we want to go then I put my goals down in my journal and think about ways that I can possible accomplish those goals or at least work on them. For instance, I have found a local supplier for the orchard trees that I would like to have. I know the cost of those trees and so I will save my writing money and sewing money in order to purchase what I can. Same thing with the berries. That way those things will not eat into the household budget or money that we save for emergencies. Getting rid of some of the clutter that we have is a big priority this year. When my mother in law passed away a couple of years ago most of her things were brought up here. I have been slowly getting rid of those things and using what I wanted to keep. She was a huge collector and has some fabulous things and some not so fabulous things. I know I brought box after box after box of pyrex up here and cannot possibly use it all. So I think I will put the pyrex in the country store and if anyone wishes to purchase it at reasonable prices then that would be great. She also did loads of crafts and I brought all of that stuff up here. However, I know that I cannot possibly use all of it and some of it I just don't want to pursue so I will put those craft supplies up also on the country store blog. I do believe that bartering is great and so these things will be offered for trade or sale. Barter to me is a win win situation. Just getting rid of the boxes of those two items will be a huge step toward decluttering our little farm. Well, that is about it for goals this year. I think if I accomplish all of that then I will have accomplished quite a bit. So what are your goals and aspirations for the coming year?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Ok, I have received lots of encouragement about going tv free, so......we will be having a completely free technology week next week. Basically in order to entice my hubby and daughter to give up their television, I agreed to give up the computer. Yes, I do spend a good amount of morning time on the computer. Much of that time is spent doing research for articles or projects that I want to do around the farm, but still... So I will try to get quite a bit of blog posts done this weekend to tide everyone over for next week. If all goes well maybe we can get rid of the television all together. I think going without for a whole week is a good start. I am prepared to take what I can get in baby steps if that is what we have to do to break our family of this terrible addiction. God bless and thanks for all the encouragement.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Ladies, it is cold outside!!! I mean really cold for us poor southern folk. We haven't had winter temps like this in years and I have gotten.....wimpy! I know you folks up north have been dealing with bitter bitter cold temps this winter and I feel for you...I really do. I also appreciate the gesture when you choose to share, but this is one thing I don't mind sharing. I know this cold will be helpful in killing some of those awful bugs that seem to have thrived through the winters of the last several years. That will be a good thing. Right now however, I don't know who shivers more in the morning at milking time...the goat or me. This cold has made me thankful that God has seen fit to give us the desire to be prepared for anything. We have heat and we have backup heat. We have plenty of food and hay in the barns for the critters and they have shelter from the wind. We have plenty to eat here and don't have to get out on the icy bridges and after tonight snowy roads to get something to eat. We can simply all hunker down and stay warm. There are many many here in the south that simply cannot do that. Many that have propane to heat with that couldn't afford it this year and no fireplace for backup. The shelters are filling up with folks that simply can't stay warm at home. My biggest concern during all of this is hauling warm water to the critters and breaking ice in water buckets. Others are simply trying to survive and having a hard time of it. So my prayers go out for them. I pray that they also use this as a wake up call to be more prepared for future events no matter what they might be. I pray that God keeps them safe during this terrible, bitter cold and whatever else the weather might bring. I thank the good Lord that my children and I can hunker down here at Whisperwind and wait out the cold in comfort. God bless and everybody stay warm!
I received so many wonderful comments left on the When Families clash post, that I thought I would respond to them here. First of all thank you ladies for your heartfelt words of encouragement and understanding. I wrote the post because I know that there are many of us out there that have decided to separate from society and many times it seems as if we are all alone. So to all of us everywhere, we are together and no....we are not crazy nor deranged! As I said in the post many in my family seem to think that we have chosen a life of poverty. Well....so what if we have. Is it a sin to give up worldly riches for a more humble existence. I don't think so and many throughout Christianity have done exactly that. The riches that we seek so desperately simply cannot be found in things of this world...money, material goods, etc. My children certainly do not do without anything, but the one thing that they are gaining in our life is understanding that true wealth comes from God in the form of peace and happiness. No our life here at Whisperwind is not perfect and not always blissful. We have our share of problems just like anyone else does. However, the difference is that we give those problems to our Lord and simply follow His guidance on the issue. It is a peaceful existence that only those who live it can understand. Another thing about the life that we live is that to use a well worn phrase...we find the joys in the simple things in life. It might seem mundane to some seeing a bunch of chickens running around picking at bugs and such, but to us those little chickens are so funny in their antics. Every seen chickens in a field full of grasshoppers? They are hilarious! Or the peaceful moment of quiet in the barn in the early morning with the smells of hay and the sounds of animals quietly eating their breakfast as you watch the steam rise from the milk going into your bucket. Or laboring for days and weeks to plant the field not really knowing if anything will come of your labors or not....then seeing that first little tomato appear or a tiny little squash in the midst of a dying bloom. These are the riches that only God can provide and they are riches that reach right into the very heart of your soul and make it leap for joy and be thankful that you had the privilege of receiving such a gift. When I had biddies that were being ornery about going back into the chicken coop I sent the best chicken catcher on the farm after them....my 3 year old daughter. She could catch a baby chicken faster and better than anything on the farm. The sound of laughter as she caught chickens and brought them to me was something that money could never buy. From all the comments that I received about that post it is clear to me that many of us have discovered that true riches can only be found when we stop pursuing "riches". Does that mean that we have to live in poverty...no. Our children are well fed, well housed, warm in the winter and somewhat cool in the summer. They have clothing appropriate for the weather and two parents that love them. They have time to play and laugh with both friends and family. And yes they have toys to amuse themselves with. However, they are much richer than many would think simply because they are open to the joys that God provides them each and every day. Living a simpler life gives them the opportunity to see so much more and experience all that He has to give. No thanks world...I'll take green acres any day of the week! God bless you all!
We have been contemplating giving up our satellite service. This decision has really been a struggle for our family. I don't know why it should be such a difficult decision as there is really very little on that we actually want to watch. Usually in the evening it is just something to do when we are tired and have very little energy. This discussion has come up a lot lately in various places. Over on the homesteading today forums I found many many people who did not have tv and many who had not had tv for years. Despite concerns they have survived quite well. Well, this morning as I was reading through several blogs that I followed I found another who is doing quite well without television. This blog post over at SAHMville Blog is worth the read and certainly gave me some encouragement in my struggle to give up the idiot box. So ladies if you have made the plunge also, leave a comment and let us know about it. If you are also struggling with letting this security blanket go, let us know about it. I find sometimes it helps make a decision when we know we aren't the only ones out there. So, I think my husband and I will have to really talk about this and come to a decision quickly before the next bill arrives! God bless.
Monday, January 4, 2010
My husband and I have moved ourselves and our family out of the "mainstream" society and their way of thinking. As Christians, we have moved toward a more biblical structure in our family. We have moved toward a more Biblical agrarian life in which we believe that it is our duty to be producers, instead of consumers. We also look more closely at the things which influence our children and come into our home. All this being said, it has caused conflict within the extended family that still lives within the "world". They simply don't understand and don't want to understand why we have chosen this and have even gone so far as to accuse us of damaging our children's well being. In fact my oldest daughter was misbehaving at a family get together over the holidays and my husband corrected her rather sternly. Apparently, this did not sit well with the family gathered as one member later called me and told me that I needed to tell my husband to "Just shut up and let you handle it". I was really shocked at that statement. Even not understanding that my husband is the head of our household and answerable to God for the actions and behavior of his children, how could anyone suggest that one parent tell the other to shut up when disciplining a child?! So when I replied with the fact that I would in no way shape or form tell him to shut up and explained the reasons for it, I was told that I was being ridiculous. Modern society seems to think that only the mother has the right to discipline and teach the child and the father is just to be some buffoon that stays in the background. I find that so sad, because every child needs the direction of a father. Maybe that is what is wrong with the current generations coming along is the lack of a strong father. I remember when my Dad was talking about his childhood and when he would get into trouble. He said he always thought it was funny and would continue with his troublemaking as long as my grandmother was disciplining him. However, all she had to say was, "Do I need to go get your daddy?" and the very thought of Grandaddy being called into the matter would set him on the straight and narrow. Face it, we mothers can be suckers when it comes to our little ones, however daddy's can stand their ground. I know I have been guilty of caving into my children, sometimes simply because I am tired and don't have the energy. However, that is why God placed Dads in charge. They have the energy and can effectively correct and guide swiftly, whereas with a mother the correct and guide can take half a days arguing and going back and forth, so to speak. We are also very aware of the things that our children see, hear, and read. I have written before that I do not approve the Twilight series and will not allow it in my home, nor will I allow my daughter to see it elsewhere. For some reason this series has caused no amount of problems with the "family" and us. They think we are simply cruel and unreasonable. Instead of simply accepting our decision, time and again we are faced with our family pushing this Twilight. I thought I had made it very clear that this issue was not up for discussion. During the last month it has been brought up time and again. One family member wanted to take her to the movies to see, you guessed it, the latest release of the Twilight saga. Then got irate when I said no. Another family member had gotten it for her daughter and wanted them to watch the movie together, then got upset when I said no and that maybe we needed to go home if that was the plan for the evening. And on and on it goes. For some reason with this movie being pushed by so many of my family members it simply strengthens my resolve that my Christian daughter should not watch a movie that has so many adults (and children) alike bewitched so much that they need to push this film/book series. For me it truly strengthens the thoughts that I have that this thing is loaded with withcraft. Yep, I said it. Yes, I know it is about vampires, but witchcraft often surrounds things that are not blatantly about witchcraft. Even so, vampirism is against God's word! Can't these professed Christians see this?! I feel like no one can see the implications of a girl giving up life for eternal death. Do they not see that Jesus Christ is eternal life and that choosing eternal death is to not only separate from Him, but choosing hell. Is there nothing wrong with this in their minds? Then there have been the issues of our living a more agrarian life. I don't understand why someone would care whether we raise our own food or buy it from the grocery store. Why would that be a concern to anyone? However, in our extended family most see that as the most ridiculous thing they have even heard. Of course, most of the "concerns" of theirs is that our food is not safe because it hasn't been inspected. Even when you try to educate them that our food is safer than anything they could buy in the grocery store (because I don't fertilize my spinach with raw sewage) they simply won't listen. They simply think that living a simpler life in which we produce what we can for our own needs is choosing to live in poverty. Only poor people live this way, is there comment. My children are suffering because they are forced to eat vegetables instead of processed waffles and pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a side of processed junk. I am setting my family up for a serious stay in the hospital by feeding them eggs which have not been bleached first to get rid of the germs! How cruel can I be to make the kids eat meat that was walking around a few days ago and which they petted and helped to care for! My whole point in this is that once the choice is made to step outside of the "mainstream" way of life and thought process then the road can be hard even within the extended family. Even though the decision is a good one and a noble undertaking, the road is not easy and there will be many if not most who simply don't and can't understand. What the trigger to there understanding will be, I don't know. I haven't found it yet. Just know that we are not alone even if it seems like it. God is always with us and through Him we will find our strength to continue on the path that He has set for us. We are also not alone in our struggles as there are others struggling, just like us, all around the world. However, I have to say this....despite the family clash, I have never been more at peace, never been more content, never been happier than I have been living outside of the "world". It was only when our family chose to live within the Biblical outline and plan of God that we found true peace and happiness even though the "world" tries to make us think we are unhappy. For parents this is difficult because we can withstand the attacks of the world, however it is difficult for our little ones. They don't have the fortitude just yet and the world tries very hard to make them feel unhappy about their life and what they are "missing" out on. It is our job more than ever once we start to step out of the mainstream flow of humanity to armour our children so that they can grow to withstand the assault. It is no longer a black and white world in which we live, but gray has become not only acceptable but the chosen color. With God's help we can separate the gray into black and white and teach our children to do the same. May God be with us all!
In our area we have a group of women that have been doing a large children's consignment sale for years. They do 2 a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. I have found that it is a great opportunity for me to sell some of the better clothes that my children cannot wear and use the money to buy things that they need (that I don't make) with the money. So basically there is not much of an out of pocket expense for things like shoes and such. It works pretty well. So the spring consignment sale is coming soon and I will be little by little getting things ready to take up there. They are pretty strict about the condition of the clothes and how they are hung and tagged, so it is a lot of work. It isn't so bad when you start early. Anything that does not sell at the sale is donated so that is nice also. I get a little money, spend it there and the rest is donated. They also of course, have toys and such so this is a great way to get rid of things that the children no longer use. I know for our family it is a great way to save money on buying things that the children need. Children's shoes are simply so expensive and they just don't wear them for very long. They could easily be the biggest expense that we have as far as clothing for the kids. So these consignment sales are a great thing for us. Hope you can find something like this in your area. God bless.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
I have been asked where I get my seeds. I get 99% of my seeds from Heirloom Acres. I highly recommend this company. It is a Christian family owned company with excellent customer service. When I first attempted to grow mangle beets I was having trouble getting them to germinate. I contacted the company about my problem and they immediately responded with the answer to my problem (it was still too hot here for mangles). So I saved the seed I had left and tried again later, worked like a charm and my chickens are very thankful to Heirloom Acres. I have been ordering from them for several years and have never had any problem with their seed. There prices are very reasonable for open pollinated seeds also. Ok, so there is my plug for heirloom acres. I usually do not endorse companies or products, but one of my readers asked and I thought others might want to read the answer. God bless.